Consider Telecommuting for Public Schools

Education Reform for the Future Must Rely Heavily on Online Learning

Yahoo Contributor Network
Sean Lowe steps away from the ballroom to read The Giving Tree via Skype to a class of third graders at St. Paul School in Princeton, N.J.  The session is a part of Skype in the classroom’s Read Aloud Initiative where Skype secured commitments from over 30 influential celebrities and business leaders to read aloud to a classroom using Skype before the end of the 2012/2013 school year.   (Tom Mihalek/AP Images for Skype)
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Sean Lowe steps away from the ballroom to read The Giving Tree via Skype to a class of third graders at St. Paul School in Princeton, N.J. The session is a part of Skype in the classroom’s Read Aloud Initiative where Skype secured commitments from over 30 influential celebrities and business leaders to read aloud to a classroom using Skype before the end of the 2012/2013 school year. (Tom Mihalek/AP Images for Skype)

What big ideas can help America solve its most pressing problems? In an ongoing project, Yahoo News is soliciting creative, outside-the-box and possibly controversial (but still credible) solutions. Here's one about education.

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COMMENTARY | Since we could remember, students were waking up before sunrise to begin the process of going to school. The routine includes a shower, breakfast and the race to the bus stop. Once at school, we participate in classes and activities for eight to 10 hours and then return home. Once we arrive back at home, our homework requirements consume most of our time.

There are many benefits that come with going to school: the friendships, the social interactions, the sports, and the discipline required to complete 12 years of grade school. Unfortunately, in the new economy the schools are overcrowded, the budgets are busted, and the quality of the education is in question.

My solution to all these problems can be found in my Education Reform Plan for the Future. Universities and technical schools were some of the first organizations to provide classes online. The online classes provided a further reach for these organizations without the increased cost of new locations. This opportunity also provided access to higher education's for individuals that could not attend normal classes for reasons that include time constraints, stay-at-home moms, individuals with disabilities, and people living in areas without formal education centers. The possibilities with online educations are unlimited. Of course, there will always be a need for hands-on training and testing centers to insure that each student is getting a quality education.

The quick version of my solution involves providing access for students in over-crowded schools to participate in online classes. This would allow schools to schedule student's actual classroom time about half as much as before. This will provide a better experience for both the student and the faculty. In the beginning, the cost savings will come from smaller budget requirements on the logistical side. The larger savings happen down-the-road when some students are able complete their 7-12 grade school educations, 90 percent online. Students will still be required to attend a physical location at times needed for official testing, social interaction, and sports.

I believe this will help the overcrowding and the wasted spending found in a year-round physical school. Students of all races and all income classes would have access to the best curriculum 24-7 and the physical locations would always be accessible for any assistance needed. This would dramatically reduce the cost of transportation and the cost of expanding old schools and building new schools.

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